Archive for October, 2014

Six counties — Eaton, Mecosta, Oakland, Oceana, Ottawa and St. Clair — are among local governments landing funds via the “Competitive Grant Assistance Program” for work they are doing on “mergers, consolidations, interlocal agreements and cooperative efforts,” the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.

All together, the six counties will receive about $4.5 million.

Oakland will receive the lion’s share of that sum, $3.8 million for “collaboration by three counties to form the Great Lakes Water Authority” to fix and upgrade the Detroit water system.

The amounts and purposes for the other awards are:

  • Eaton, $10,0001, for collaboration by area communities to determine the feasibility of shared recycling services.
  • Mecosta, $601,641, for consolidation of morgue services with Newaygo County.
  • Oceana, $13,750, for collaboration by area communities to determine the feasibility of shared fire services.
  • Ottawa, $31,588, for consolidation of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office with the Village of Spring Lake/City of Ferrysburg Police Department.
  • St. Clair, $10,500, for collaboration with Sanilac County to determine the feasibility of shared public health services.

For more information on the program, visit its official Web page.

 

The Michigan Cherry Commission is just one of the more than 200 panels and boards of the State of Michigan.

The Michigan Cherry Commission is just one of the more than 200 panels and boards of the State of Michigan.

The State of Michigan has more than 200 panels and boards that advise and help lead efforts ranging from accountancy and architecture to soybeans and historic preservation.

With so many initiatives, it’s no surprise then that the state always is on the hunt for able, civic-minded individuals to serve. The governor’s Appointments Division maintains a handy website with an application link for interested citizens.

In the online application form, you may select up to three panels of interest, and the application process will require a resume and basic background information.

Help Michigan and apply today.

transport funds 10-17-14The conventional wisdom in political circles is that a significant increase in transportation funding will be a heavy lift in the upcoming “lame duck” session of the Legislature after the November elections. That CW might explain why, in the words of this slide in August from the House Fiscal Agency, transportation funding has been “relatively flat” since the late 1990s. Meanwhile … “The average Michigander pays $357 annually in unnecessary repairs to their vehicles due to poor roads.” MAC’s position: An additional penny on the state sales tax, dedicated to transportation, is the best way to improve roads.

PILT (payments in lieu of taxes) is a perpetual issue for Michigan’s northern counties, where ownership of land by the state and federal governments is common. The National Association of Counties has created an interactive feature that allows you to see exactly what the federal PILT program can do to a county’s primary source of revenue.

As seen in the example below, the federal government paid Crawford County less than $2 per acre — far, far below the “market” tax result. For 2014, Michigan counties received about $4.6 million for approximately 2.2 million acres.(For a table showing all of the FY14 federal PILT to Michigan counties, click here.)

Crawford PILT image October 2014

And in the “going from bad to worse” category, the future of PILT in the 2015 federal budget remains in doubt. The authorization for PILT actually expired on Sept. 30 with the end of the 2014 fiscal year. PILT was not included in the continuing resolution that is keeping the federal government going in lieu of an enacted budget. That resolution expires at the end of December and NACo is planning a big push in November and December to get PILT back into the federal spending plan.

National PILT map October 2014

Stay connected to MAC’s communications channels for updates on this topic.

 

stream imageIn the October edition of Michigan Counties, the “Ask the Expert” feature focused on the definition of “Waters of the United States” and how it is important for counties to give their views during the comment period on the federal Clean Water Act by Oct. 20, 2014.

Good news. As just reported here by the National Association of Counties, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to extend the comment period to Nov. 14, 2014.